Elk Hunting Gear List
Early Season Elk Hunting Gear List
To be consistently successful when you’re elk hunting, whether you’re going unguided or with an outfitter, you need to be prepared. Whether you’re using archery, a rifle or black powder, you’ll need some specialty gear for elk hunting. From scouting equipment to game bags, this early season elk hunting gear list has all of the gear you will need.
*If you’re mobile, backcountry, backpack-style hunter and want to go lean-and-mean, be sure to check out this podcast with Steve Speck, the owner of EXO Mountain Gear. That post also has links to the gear that Steve uses on his backcountry hunts.
❏ Underwear (1 pair per day)
❏ Base Layer Top and Bottom (2 – 3 pairs per week) *we suggest merino wool
❏ Lightweight Camo Jacket
❏ Windstopper Camo Jacket
❏ Midweight Camo Jacket
❏ Lightweight Camo Vest
❏ Lightweight Camo Shirt (3 – 5 per week) *you can get away with fewer shirts if you wear merino wool.
❏ Lightweight Camo Pants (1-2 pair per week)
❏ Midweight Camo Pants (1 pair per week)
❏ Rain Gear
❏ Blaze Orange (rifle hunts) *check regulations in the state you are hunting
❏ Lightweight Gloves
❏ Midweight Gloves
❏ Camo or Neutral-colored Cap
❏ Camo Stocking Cap or Camo Beanie
❏ Camo Head Net
Elk Hunting Accessories:
❏ Elk Decoy
❏ Cow Calls
❏ Bugle and Bugle Tube
❏ Ground Blind
❏ Folding Chair
❏ Bow Holder
❏ Day Pack
❏ Water Bottle
❏ Large Backpack
❏ Wind Direction Indicator
❏ Hunting Knife
❏ Topo Maps or Mobile Mapping Software
❏ inReach GPS
❏ Scent Elimination Spray
❏ Water Bladder (2L)
❏ Fire Starter Kit
❏ Game Bags
❏ Caping Salt
❏ Dry Bag
Buy the highest quality optics that you can afford.
For Rifle Elk Hunts:
Use enough gun. We suggest these calibers: .270 Winchester; 7mm Remington Magnum; .30-06 Springfield; .300 WSM; .300 Winchester Magnum; .300 Weatherby Magnum; 30 Nosler; .338 RCM; or .338 Winchester Magnum. Other options might be: 6.5 Creedmoor; .280 Ackley Improved; or 28 Nosler.
For Archery Elk Hunts:
The Outdoors International team shoots Hoyt.
❏ Bow *check regulations in the state you are hunting
❏ Arrows (at least one doz.)
❏ Broadheads *check regulations in the state you are hunting
❏ Release *an extra release is recommended
❏ Soft Bow Case
❏ Hard Bow Case
For Muzzleloader Elk Hunts:
❏ coming soon…
❏ Tent/Bivy (appropriate for the trip)
❏ Large Duffel Bag
❏ Sleeping Bag (appropriate for the season/region)
❏ Sleeping Pad
❏ Camp Pillow
❏ Compression Bag
❏ 5 gal. Collapsible Water Container
❏ Water Filtration
❏ Eating Utensils
❏ Large Fuel Container(s)
❏ Camp Stove
❏ Folding Table
❏ Paper Towels
❏ TP/Wet Wipes
❏ Ziploc Bags
❏ Heavy Garbage Bags
❏ First Aid Kit
❏ Lip Balm
❏ Insect Repellant
❏ Moleskin for blisters
❏ Super Glue
❏ Prescription Medication
❏ Duct Tape
❏ Pain Reliever
❏ Extra Glasses and/or Contacts
❏ Quality Polarized Sunglasses
❏ Personal Toiletries
❏ Video Camera and/or GoPro
❏ Extra Batteries for all Electronics
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- Hunting license and tag(s)
- Conservation Stamp
- Many states require Hunters Safety certificates
- Gun Permits etc.
- Airline ticket and Itinerary
- Passport (if needed)
- Outfitter contact information
Trip insurance also protects you from damage or loss to your equipment and provides medical benefits and emergency evacuation coverage during your trip.
- Most people pack WAY too much. For most guided trips, all of your gear should be able to fit in one duffel bag weighing less than 80 lbs. *Not including your sleeping bag.
- Use your backpack for all of your carry-on items if you are flying.
- Pack an extra set of casual clothing with you in your hard case under the foam lining.
- Pack your sleeping bag in a compression sack to conserve space.
Or Just Give Us a Call
*This is a sample/generic gear list. For more specific details for the time of year you are traveling to, we recommend checking with your outfitter, hunting consultant or your destination’s local Wildlife Management Agency.
Check the Weather
Tipping Your Guide
The standard tip for a guide is 10% to 20% of the cost of your trip. Remember to tip the cooks and other help in the camp as well. The amount you give reflects your appreciation for your guide’s hard work and effort.
For most rifle hunts you will need a flat shooting, bolt action .243 or larger rifle with a quality scope. Sight in so that you are dead on at 200 yards. Don’t be afraid to use shooting sticks. Here’s a good long range shooting course that is worth considering.
For bowhunts, we prefer modern compound bows that are 60 lbs or more. Be sighted in at 20, 30 and 40 yards at a bare minimum. For Western hunts you may need to stretch that distance out to 50 yards or more. Your maximum range is the range at which you can keep EVERY arrow in a pie plate sized group.
Be sure to tell them Outdoors International sent you.